Friday, April 13, 2007

Shaken, not Stirred

During my summers as a kid in Tennessee we used to go over to my cousins' house and play with Aunt Betty's Vibrabelt. (Ahem, you wise guys: it's not that kind of vibrating thingy. Get your minds out of the gutter.) It was one of those contraptions for spot-reducing that, as its name suggests, had a vibrating belt that you looped around your derriere and let it shimmy away the fat. In theory.

We cousins mostly goofed around and set it on high to make our voices jiggle when we talked as we leaned our backsides into the wide shivering belt. Far from slimming myself in those chubby pre-teen days, the only result I noticed was a sudden urge to pee. Aunt Betty, on the other hand, was a true Vibrabelt devotee. I can see her now, hair perfectly coiffed, laughing in her luscious throaty Southern drawl and deeply inhaling her Salem menthols while her bum was shimmering away at 100 rpm. Oh, Aunt Betty. She was so glamorous. She had perfect nails and central air conditioning.

In a Proustian-madeleine-dunking way I conjured up vivid images of Aunt Betty today when I visited the newly opened Powea Power-Plate center around the corner from me on rue Pierre Leroux. Power Plate is the buzz to beat all buzz, so tendance with the I-need-instant-fitness crowd. In fact, I'm still buzzing a bit from the experience, but more in a literal sense. Either you know all about Power Plate or you've never heard of it, apparently. I only knew what I had seen in a French chic flick and read in fashion magazines, so I was a wide-eyed novice.

Charming, effervescent Regine Petit, the coach who was running the sleek boutique, led me through the motions -- and quelle motions! -- on the big vibrating plate. Regine was delighted to find out I was American and begged to do the session in English. (I used to bristle at such efforts in my naive desire to masquerade as a Parisienne. Now I find I don't mind that sort of request any more -- I know I'll have ample time to practice my impeccable French.) So we swapped vocab while she coached me: you know, technical terms like buttocks and pelvic tilt. I stood on that big plate and held on for dear life while my eyeballs rattled and my thigh muscles really began to burn. And except for the fact that I tend to forget to breathe when exercising (a minor drawback leading to turning beet red) it was a pleasant experience.

According to Regine I accomplished 1-1/2 hours of exercise in the 30-minute session.
She explained that the machine also helps with stretching, improving circulation and lymphatic drainage, and bone density. My muscles feel as though I just trekked the Himalayas. If Powea's Power-Plate is everything they claim, I'll be as glamorous as Aunt Betty in no time. And maybe more svelte.

Free half-hour trial session by filling out this coupon and calling for a reservation.

Powea Power Plate
21 bis rue Pierre Leroux
75007 Paris
tel 01 56 58 23 10

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